Why You Need to Cut Down the Number of Guests to Invite to Your Nigerian Wedding

One of the biggest unpleasant problems with big, fat Nigerian weddings is unhappy guests who don’t get to eat anything in a wedding they’re invited to, because the food got finished early. And one wonders why any couple with a tight budget would go all out to invite more wedding guests than they can cater for? If you don’t want that kind of situation, this post will reveal to you the reasons why you should plan your guest list to match the size of catering budget you have – as well as the negative consequences of having too many wedding guests. Read on.

yoruba bride dancing with guests

Nigerians generally love big, fat weddings that are over-the-top, with the bride and groom’s family and distant relatives alone making up to 500 guests or more. It’s kind of so un-Nigerian and embarrassing to invite few wedding guests, and it really hurts to think of not inviting some people to your wedding. While it’s fun to have everyone witness your wedding, when you have a financial constraint, you need to limit your guest list to a manageable number you can cater for.

Creating a manageable wedding guest list can be a bit frightening, especially because it’s almost like a culture thing to invite everyone to a wedding in Nigeria – and it can feel awkward not doing so. And the bride and groom will be filled with the tension of “what will people say” and “what should I tell the uninvited?”.

If You Can’t Feed Everyone, Don’t Invite Everyone

Cutting down a wedding guest list during wedding planning is not an easy task because you would like to celebrate your wedding with as many relatives and friends as possible, and you certainly would not want to offend anyone by not inviting them. However, when you have a tight budget, you are forced to make some tough decisions here and there – such as making cuts regarding who should or should be invited  to your wedding, as well as who and who should not be invited.

Besides financial constraint being a reason to trim down the number of guests, most of the people you invite are going to show up in your wedding photos for the rest of your life, so you’d better make sure they’re the right guests. It’s not going to be funny, if in the next 10 years you can’t tell your child the name of one or more people in your wedding photo – you bet they would ask!

It’s not easy deciding whether to invite everyone or limit invites to just the number of people you can feed – because if you invite them all and can’t feed them all, they’ll complain. And you’ll look really cheap! Is your wedding worth all that (unnecessary stress)?

If the Ceremony Venue is Too Small, Trim the Guest List!

While you can easily choose a wedding reception venue, you are limited to choices when it comes to the wedding (joining) ceremony venue – some of my friends got married in a court house, and most are very small rooms that can seat less than 50 people. If your wedding ceremony venue (court, church or other religious house) is very small, don’t invite everyone there – instead invite a few close friends and family members to the joining ceremony and every other guest to the wedding reception. This is because you don’t want some guests standing (guests hate discomfort).

Let Your Catering Budget Guide on How Many People to Invite

Once you are convinced that you don’t have an unlimited budget to plan your wedding, and know that there’d be chaos if you invite more people than you can feed, next thing to do is to find out how many people that the budget you have can feed.

Don’t guess the number of guests – use this method to accurately estimate the number of guests to invite based on the budget you have. An estimate of the number of guests you can afford will help you know how much to spend on the wedding venue, ensuring that you do not rent a venue that is beyond your budget or one that is too small or too big for the number of guests you expect.

Having Few Wedding Guests is Becoming Trendy in Nigerian Weddings

Nigerians are gradually getting the courage to have their wedding their way – small and sweet – and not so much of how big their parents want it. Small intimate weddings are on the rise and becoming sort of trendy, so don’t be afraid to have your wedding the size you want or can afford – talk show host Toke Makinwa had a small intimate, court wedding and nollywood actress Uche Jombo had a small private, destination wedding).

It seems that ‘small is almost becoming the new big’ or the picture of “classy” when it comes to weddings in Nigeria. Recently, one of my friends had a super elegant wedding with only 50 guests – the venue was a high brow restaurant in Lagos Island. Guests were served assorted food in a buffet style. All the single and engaged guests left the wedding talking about how they want to have that style of wedding.

Next Steps: Taking Action to Reduce Your Guest List

If you’ve got loads of cash to plan your wedding, by all means invite everyone. But if you’re a bride on a tight budget, now it’s time for action – take out your wedding guest list. Review the number of people in the list and ask yourself: can you realistically feed that number of guests? If the answer is “no”, then it’s time to cut down that guest list to the number you can truly afford to handle. Keep trimming down the names on your guest list until you reach the maximum number you planned.

So, tell me in the comments below: what’s your wedding style – lots of guests or a few guests? How many guests are you looking at inviting to your own wedding? 

About Stella Anokam

Stella is the founder and Editor of this blog (NaijaGlamWedding). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Submit your photos to be featured - it's FREE, because we love everything weddings, bridal showers, engagement shoots.


  1. amazing article. As a wedding photographer, I find it harder to work. when the number of guest is extremely large. These days, things are changing a bit. Though most people like large weddings to show how influential they are, they dont realise that they are going to have to sacrifice more money for it. keep It up guys…

    • Thanks, Adedeji. You’re not alone – I’ve heard many wedding photographers say that it’s difficult covering a Nigerian wedding that has a huge guest in attendance. However, most pro wedding photographers never go to a wedding without having one or more assistants, and we recommend that our brides always ask before hiring a photographer – if they bring along other photographers and how many. Thanks for your thoughts.

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